Union-Quinnipiac NCAA hockey East Regional final pregame report
Good evening from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., where the second ECAC Hockey representative for the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh will be decided as third-seeded and 13th-ranked Union takes on top-seed and No. 1-ranked Quinnipiac in the NCAA hockey tournament East Regional championship game.
The two teams reached the final after victories in Saturday’s semifinals. Quinnipiac needed a three-goal third period to erase a 3-1 deficit and beat Canisius, 4-3, in the first semifinal. Union made sure that there would be a new NCAA champion when they rolled to a 5-1 victory over defending national champion Boston College.
The winner will make the Path to Pittsburgh and the Consol Energy Center for the Frozen Four April 11-13 and join fellow ECACH team Yale, which shocked everyone by winning West Regional by beating Minnesota and North Dakota. It’s the first time the ECACH will have two teams in the Frozen Four since 1983, when Harvard and Providence got there. Union seeks to become the first ECACH team to play in consecutive Frozen Fours since Harvard did it in 1986 and 1987.
Tonight’s game pits the ECACH regular-season champion (Quinnipiac) and the ECACH tournament champion (Union) in the ultimate ECACH championship game. The two teams didn’t meet last weekend in Atlantic City, N.J., because the Bobcats dropped a 4-0 decision to Brown in the semifinals, while the Dutchmen pounded Yale, 5-0.
This will be the third meeting this season between Union and Quinnipiac. The Bobcats won both regular-season contests. The first one, Nov. 30 at Messa, was a 4-0 blowout. Quinnipiac controlled the game from the outset. The Bobcats outshot the Dutchmen, 33-20. Jeremy Langlois scored twice and had an assist, and Travis St. Denis and Ben Arnt scored the other goals. Goalie Eric Hartzell was hardly tested.
In the rematch Jan. 12 in Hamden, Conn., the Dutchmen took a 2-0 first-period lead on power-play goals by Wayne Simpson and Greg Coburn. The Dutchmen had a great chance to put the game away in the third period when they started the period with a major power play. Instead, the Dutchmen failed to generate any scoring chances. That gave the Bobcats life, and they got goals from Mike Dalhuisen, Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Kellen Jones in a 6:43 stretch and pull out a 3-2 win.
“We know we’re playing a great team,” Union goalie Troy Grosenick said after Saturday’s game. “They’ve got a great goalie, great ‘D,’ great forwards, great coach, everything. They’re first class. They, obviously, didn’t go on that huge streak and win our regular season for no reason.”
Union coach Rick Bennett spoke with the media after today’s morning skate about tonight’s game. To see Bennett’s interview, click here.
Here is the Union lineup, starting with the forwards:
Daniel Ciampini/Kyle Bodie/Wayne Simpson
Daniel Carr/Josh Jooris/Matt Wilkins
Matt Hatch/Max Novak/Kevin Sullivan
Cole Ikkala/David Roy/Sam Coatta
The defensive pairings are:
Mat Bodie/Sebastien Gingras
Greg Coburn/Shayne Gostisbehere
Ryan Forgaard/Shawn Stuart
Grosenick starts in goal.
Here is the Quinnipiac lineup, starting the forwards:
Matthew Peca/Connor Jones/Kellen Jones
Clay Harvey/Jeremy Langlois/Travis St. Denis
Bryce Van Brabant/Ben Arnt/Jordan Samuels-Thomas
Kevin Bui/Cory Hibbeler/Russell Goodman
The defensive pairings are:
Zach Davies/Zach Tolkinen
Dan Federico/Mike Dalhuisen
Loren Barron/Zach Currie
Hartzell starts in goal.
I’ll have updates on the game on Twitter. If you’re not following me, my Twitter handle is @slapschotts. The hashtags I will use for this game are #UnionHockey, #QUHockey, #ECACHockey and #NCAAHockey. If you have any questions during the game, feel free to ask.
I’ll update my Parting Schotts blog after each period, and have more description of the game.
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Enjoy the game!